The Uninvited Guest is Airbnb

Hey Airbnb, shhh! You’re being disruptive!

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky tries to pitch away from the word “disruptive” to describe his company... mainly to not wake up the sleeping hotel giants. He claims that Airbnb’s clientelle is simply just different than the people who would book at the traditional hotels. Looking back at 2015, it was a good fiscal year for the hotel industry. Everything was up and it seems that hotel businesses have nothing to complain about… or do they?

They estimate of a “ ‘direct loss’ to the hotel industry of $451 million from September 2014 to August 2015.”

No hotelier would deny that Airbnb has most definitely made a noticeable difference in their business. Airbnb has gained grounds on the market share and even went as to successfully close a $1 billion dollar funding round at an estimated worth of $24 billion. HVS Global Hospitality Services makes a report that Airbnb’s share of local demand is at 8%, making it hardpressed to not feel like Airbnb is bringing away some of the hotels’ business home.

Airbnb had a very opportune moment in history after the financial crash in 2008 to allow the shared economy to be successful and high in demand. Hotel construction came to a halt in the aftermath, therefore resulting to Airbnb’s success. There are signs that both Airbnb and hotels are working to become more like each other.

However, I feel Airbnb’s future success impends on, not to try to be more like a hotel, but to capitalize on the community aspect. Airbnb’s strength is in the unique experience each guest has in the community they visit for a short period of time. They don’t just borrow an address but they go native. The appeal of Airbnb is the fact that you travel like a local. You feel like your host is your friend and they are showing you a good time allowing you to see what the tourists don’t. That is the unique value proposition of it all. This is how Airbnb will ensure their unique positioning in the marketplace.